A large group of second and third graders from the School of Engineering and Arts stared, wide-eyed, as Kevin Ewing held up a picture of a young boy their age.
"This is Omar. Eight years old. Nineteen pounds," Ewing told the crowd.
Monday morning, the students took a field trip to Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley, not just to hear about how hunger affects children in Haiti, but also to do something about it. With help from Ewing and others from the nonprofit Feed My Starving Children, the children packed meals made of rice, soy, vegetables and a mix of vitamins and minerals to send to Haitians in need.
"We talked about the kids that need help so we need to, you know, get this, don't mess it up," said 8-year-old Emma Borisevich. "We have to do this right."
"Some of them lost their parents, some of them lost their homes," said 9-year-old Toby Johnson, who is also a member of Calvary Church and has participated in food packing events like this before. "It's fun that we can help other people and it's also fun to pack."
This effort is part of an annual weeklong food packing event at Calvary. For the last four years, the church has sent much needed, nutritious food to the poverty-stricken people of Haiti.
"Haiti has one of the poorest slums in the Western Hemisphere," said Dawn Dresser, director of outreach at Calvary. "It's an area that needs help and it needed help after the earthquake. But it also needed help before the earthquake and since then."
The church's goal for the week is to pack 750,000 meals. About 3,500 volunteers are expected to help out with the event. If they reach their goal, they will be able to feed about 2,054 people for a year. The meals will be shipped out next week.
While the recipients of the meals benefit greatly from the group's work, the students from the School of Engineering and Arts gain something as well.
"It's a way that we can show kids that they can make a difference," said Dresser.
Calvary still needs volunteers for the packing event. Call 763-231-2988 or visit calvary.org/Haiti to make a donation or register for a volunteer shift.
12 News is on Comcast cable channel 12 in the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis and includes the cities Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Golden Valley, Maple Grove, New Hope, Osseo, Plymouth and Robbinsdale.